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Publisher of the month

Date added: 03 October 2016

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This month,  David Shervington, Senior Commissioning Editor of SCM Press, presents a publisher in theology and religious studies at the heart of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

SCM Press:
October Offer

Extra 2.5% discount on all orders. Applies to all SCM Press titles distributed by NBM including POD and available on Pubeasy.

Please quote discount code SCMOCT16 when ordering.

Offer ends 31st October 2016

Complete stocklist

Core stock list

Tell us a bit about the history of SCM

One thing you quickly learn when you manage an imprint like SCM for any length of time is that there are plenty of people who know the history inside out. I frequently discover new things I didn't know about our heritage when I chat to people who have known our books since well before I was born! SCM Press was established over a century ago as the publishing wing of the Student Christian Movement. We've kept the name because of the heritage it brings with it, but we are now wholly separate. Since 1997 we've been a part of Hymns Ancient & Modern. Nowadays we're one of the best known academic theology publishers in the country.

What are the key books on the SCM backlist?

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At the centre of our backlist are our Study Guides text books which offer comprehensive and accessible introductions to a range of subjects, designed for those at undergrad level or in vocational training. We're growing the series all the time, but at the moment there are Study Guides covering everything from Hermeneutics to Theological Reflection and Ethics to Church History. They very frequently crop up on reading lists in pretty much every theological training context in the UK, and overseas.

We're perhaps best known for some of our classics, many of which have long been established as required reading for students and anyone wanting to understand 20th century theology. Bonhoeffer, Barth, Cupit and Robinson all feature. We've published numerous books from some of the great modern day theologians too, including Walter Brueggemann as well as Juergen Moltmann.

In our more recent back list, we have published some of the classic textbooks in practical and pastoral theology, including John Swinton and Harriet Mowat's Practical Theology and Qualitative Research. This has quickly established itself as the must-have text book for those engaged in theological research using qualitative methods.

And I couldn't let this question go without mentioning another book of John Swinton's: Dementia, which we published a couple of years ago but which this year won the prestigious Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing. We've been delighted with the well-deserved attention it's received since winning the prize. We will be publishing a new edition in 2017 to celebrate.

What other new books coming soon are you particularly excited about?

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We've got a very exciting year ahead. We will be adding yet more indispensable text books to our list, including a new Companion to the Old Testament (Oct 2016) which offers a fabulous introduction to the OT, considers how it has been interpreted and challenges the reader to think about how it might apply in the context of ministry and discipleship today. We're also publishing our long awaited Studyguide to Preaching (Jan 2017), which will offer a much-needed resource to help preachers and those in training for ministry think through different approaches to preaching, and will provide practical examples and exercises.

The Parish Handbook (Nov 2016) by Bob Mayo is a wonderful narrative theological account of what it is really like to serve in parish ministry. It makes for the perfect resource to help ordinands and those preparing for ministry think reflectively about their ministry.

Following on from John Swinton's prize winning book Dementia, we're thrilled to be bringing his next book Becoming Friends of Time (Jan 2017) to the UK. Swinton turns his attention to consider how those with disabilities approach time, and what that can teach us about God. Swinton's ability to convey complex theology in a strikingly beautiful and accessible way leaves me in no doubt that this new work will be as much a 'gift to the church' as 'Dementia' was.

Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison remain profoundly relevant to today's church. We're publishing a new edition of the Letters, including a brand new foreword from Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin in the Fields (Feb 2017). It's important to me that we introduce this vital work to a new generation, it offers a moving first-hand account of the real 'cost of discipleship' which ought to make us sit up and take note.
Finally, there's Justin Thacker's Global Poverty: A Theological Guide (Mar 2017). Thacker unpacks with real insight and skill the vexed question of what impact our faith might have on how we relate to the huge number in our world who live below the poverty line. I can't help but get excited about this sort of work, combining rigorous theological insight with a desire to see the Church play a transformative role in our world.

What SCM books are you proudest of, and why?

Hard to pick! I've already mentioned Dementia. Of course I'm proud that it has been deservedly recognised via the Michael Ramsey prize, but I'm equallyproud of Archbishop Justin's remarks on awarding the prize. He said that John had done the church a huge service, and the hope is that in different ways each of our books aspire to do just that.

The impact that much of our backlist has had on theology and practice makes me feel very proud. The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer has challenged and changed how many Christians think about their faith, and I count myself amongst them. Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan has had an equal effect in urging Christians to think about mission in a new way, with a deep understanding of context. These books have made a difference and it's quite a privilege as an editor to take up that baton.

Tell us about yourself - how did you get here?

Good question, I often wonder the same thing myself! I came into publishing from an English MA in fact, fresh from a year researching obscure plays by Charles Dickens. My first role was with an independent academic publisher, where I started life in a production role working on books on anything from sociology to law to religion. I moved over to become a commissioning editor a few years later, and worked on a theology list which also published more general religious studies. The opportunity to move to a theology publisher, especially one with the kind of reputation that SCM has, was too good to miss - suddenly I had gone from a theology list with a 15-year history to one with a history which stretched back much further.

Where will SCM be in 10 years' time?

Well, clearly we would hope to still be at the forefront of theological conversation. We will continue to develop the areas in which we excel currently - practical and pastoral theology, ecclesiology and the like. And we will develop further our biblical studies and theology, always seeking to find ways of bringing these areas into conversation with the practice and ministry of the Church.

Twitter: @SCM_Press

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